October 2012 Minutes

Incoming President Tom Lavash opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance. Twelve members attended.

Treasurer’s Report
Treasurer Beulah Sutherland read the Treasurer’s Report, which was submitted for audit.

Beulah read a letter of thanks from the Capital Area Food Bank (located in Ward 5) for a donation from MPCA of $89.60. Beulah noted that for many years members have brought pennies and other spare change to our monthly meetings. In September, Beulah sent them a check for the total of the accumulated coins.

There is a nominal deficit in the Christmas Fund of ($2.44). We will need to seek additional donations before the holidays to ensure that we are able to sponsor a family from Bunker Hill School again this holiday season.

DCPS Application for School Use
Ralph Bucksell told members about the difficulties this past summer to secure a room at Bunker Hill School for MPCA’s monthly meetings. He was originally told that the Association would have to pay a $762 fee to cover the costs associated with DCPS security at our meetings. In the end, the fee was waived. In the meantime, Ralph had received approval from the Turkey Thicket Recreation Center to hold meetings there. Members discussed the possibility of using the Rec Center for at least one of our meetings this year. Because the first Tuesday of November is Election Day, next month’s meeting will be held on the second Tuesday, November 13th, at Bunker Hill School.

MPCA Website Status
Members discussed the complications and significant delays associated with creating the MPCA website. If one of our members cannot set up the site, should we retain the services of a website designer or someone with expertise in creating websites? If so, should we budget for upkeep of the site? Should we seek help from local students (such as the Communications Dept. at CUA) or non- profit organizations (such as Byte Back)? Has the annual fee for the domain name been paid this year? We have secured a domain name of www.michiganparkdc.org, which members would like to maintain. Tom Lavash will research the options, including finding out who Brookland Civic Association and/or other citizens and civic associations have used to create their websites.

Membership Status
Newly-elected Financial Secretary Don Looney described his plans to update membership lists, contact lapsed members, and recruit new members. He and Ralph Bucksell have designed new membership forms for both residents and business sponsors, which will be included with the next newsletter. Members discussed the possibility of using voter registration lists from the Board of

Elections & Ethics for Precincts 66 & 67, which include Michigan Park, for a bulk mailing to Michigan Park residents. Members also discussed ways to make meetings more accessible, such as occasional Saturday meetings and streaming or recording meetings. Ralph urged members to talk to their neighbors about joining the MPCA.

Representative from At-Large Councilmember Orange’s Office
Ms. CeLillianne Green, Legislative Council to DC Councilmember Vincent Orange, updated members on the Councilmember’s recent work and requested suggestions for issues that the Councilman should address in the future. She noted other staff in the Councilmember’s office include: Ms. Estelle Lloyd, Chief of Staff, and Mr. Mark Long, Director of Community Relations.

Ms. Green described the Councilmember’s recent introduction of legislation to fund a citywide arts initiative that would require new development to fund public art based on a 0.5% contribution of the construction costs of any new project. Tom Lavash is familiar with numerous cities across the United States that have implemented similar initiatives with great success.

Ms. Green also noted that they are working with Ward 5 Councilmember McDuffie to resolve the significant flooding problems in the Bloomingdale neighborhood, which has been flooded at least four times this past summer due to heavy rain. One of the interim solutions includes the distribution of “back-flow preventers”, which prevent raw sewage from “back-flowing” during heavy rain. This problem is a result of a system known as “Combined Sewer Overflow” (CSO), which combines run-off from storm sewers and sewage; this was a common practice of sewer construction in many aging Northeastern cities such as DC during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Unfortunately, DC Water’s long-

term plan to build below-ground storage vaults to resolve this problem is not anticipated to be complete before 2025.

Members told Ms. Green about continuous speeding and red light running on Taylor, South Dakota, and Michigan Avenues, and explained that none of the recommendations of a 2007 DDOT transportation and urban design study of the South Dakota Avenue corridor have been implemented. Members also asked that Councilmember Orange support efforts to bring a quality middle school to Ward 5.

Other Issues
Ralph Bucksell asked for volunteers to help lay weed fabric in the flower beds at the Shepherd Street park. Ralph has arranged for 10 cubic yards of mulch to be delivered from the City of Takoma Park, but has not yet figured out how it can be deposited into the park, as Takoma Park will only deliver to an alley in DC.

At Tom Lavash’s request, members suggested other agenda items and potential speakers for future meetings:

  • School Issues: middle school in Ward 5; middle school at Taft; (Gwen Means and Roxanne Carter will team up on school issues)
  • Other uses possible uses for Brookland Elementary School
  • Securing a library in Brookland (this could be a cooperative effort with Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association)
  • Traffic and transportation concerns; implementing recommendations of DDOT’s South Dakota Avenue study (Tom Lavash will work on this)
  • Speakers: Mr. Mark Jones, Ward 5 School Board representative; Principal of Bunker Hill School; DDOT Ward 5 Transportation Planner and Mr. Terry Bellamy, Director

Tom Lavash announced that he did another “drive-through” of parts of Michigan Park (18th & 19th/Bunker Hill Road/Upshur & Varnum Streets) with Ward 5 Arborist Mr. Ranjit Babra, to identify sites for new trees. During their tour, they identified locations for 40 new trees. These locations have been entered into DDOT’s GIS system, and are scheduled to be planted by March 2013. He also noted that DDOT is planting 400 new trees throughout Ward 5 this fall (and 200 more trees will be planted by DDOT throughout the ward in spring 2013.

The meeting adjourned at 8:55 pm.

W. Thomas (Tom) Lavash, President; Ralph Bucksell, 1st Vice President; Roxanne Carter, 2nd Vice President; Beulah Sutherland, Treasurer; Don Looney, Financial Secretary; James Watkins, Herald; Gwendolyn Means, Sergeant-at-Arms; Barbara Henderson, Elizabeth McGowen, & Lavinia Wolfarth, Members-at-Large

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